Latest News - celebrating Maori success and supporting others along the way – celebrating Maori success and supporting others along the way


( eds: leave who you’d like to see celebrated in your comments below, Mauri ora!)

Inspirational role models share their motivational success stories in online video interviews aimed at encouraging Maori to pursue higher levels of education, training, employment, enterprise and innovation.

An interactive website – – was launched by the Minister of Maori Affairs, Hon Dr Pita R Sharples, at Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae in M?ngere, Auckland, today (11.00 am, Thursday 14 February 2013).

A total of 30 high-achievers studying, employed or self-employed in primary, knowledge intensive and growth industries are captured on film for the new resource. From entrepreneurs and engineers to neurobiologists and nanoscientists, the M?ori Future Makers talk candidly to the camera about their study pathways, educational achievements, skills, work experiences and professional opportunities. They include:

  • Mechatronics engineering student, young dad Anaru O’Connor (Ngati Porou), from Papakura, who is also pursuing a conjoint degree in Chinese and Maori.
  • Computer games and applications developer Maru Nihoniho (Te Whanau-a-Apanui, Ngati Porou, Ngai Tahu), owner of Metia Interactive.
  • Award-winning technology entrepreneur Rod Drury (Ngai Tahu), chief executive of Xero which now has nearly 100,000 customers in 100 different countries.
  • Environmental planner Lisa Kanawa (Ngapuhi, Ngati Raukawa) who is in training for an all-female South Pole expedition in November.
  • Design professional and artist David Hakaraia (Ngapuhi, Ngati Paoa) whose Maori-inspired work will be exhibited at a furniture fair in New York in May.
  • Successful social entrepreneur and mentor Travis O’Keefe (Ngati Porou) who utilises his business skills to help solve problems in society.

Says O’Keefe: “If I was a young person, my advice would be to say yes to everything!

Go out and try everything – learn the lesson. If you enjoy it, repeat it and keep doing it. Find your passion and don’t believe people when they say you can’t do it.”

Supported by Te Puni Kokiri, the Maori Future Makers website is a practical, simple and engaging tool to support students and whanau to make more informed decisions about education, training and careers. The personal experiences of each role model is linked to study options and survival tips, course information, scholarship and iwi funding opportunities, and helpful links such as on-campus wh?nau groups that can support students.

Maori Future Makers with specialist skills and capabilities in different industries and occupations are also showcased to Maori and mainstream employers and businesses as well as a worldwide global audience. The shoot took the production team from Auckland to Christchurch including Turangi, Taupo, Hastings, Tauranga, Wairoa, Gisborne, Ruatoria and Wellington.

Project leader Moana Maniapoto from Muriwai-based Black Pearl Limited says the Maori students and whanau who informed the initial research project highlighted the difficulties in having to search the internet to source information from multiple websites. Moana says the new website pools all the “good” information into one space created specifically for M?ori while social media such as Facebook and Twitter complement the online content.

“These Maori Future Makers are a clever bunch of people. They come from all walks of life – small towns, big whanau, city schools and families that have very little money. Some were not outstanding students at school, others were unsure if they could cope with the pressures of study or living away from home.

“Yet all of them are passionate about what they do and they’ve learnt a few things along the way too. Like what subjects you should take at school, what type of study programme works for them, how to survive years of study and how to stay motivated, where to apply for scholarships and grants, what fun you can have in your spare time – and how you are never too old to learn.

“Best of all, they know what opportunities exist for Maori who arm themselves with certain qualifications or skills. This resource is about realising Maori potential by growing Maori assets – and our biggest asset is our people.”

To view the videos, connect and converse with the M?ori Future Makers or for more information:

(2) Comments

  1. Brian Bargh

    Kia ora koutou Just thinking what a great initiative you have here. Wonder if you'd like to link to a 21 birthday video made by Maori film-maker Robbie George on Huia, how Robyn Bargh started out and how we are now NZ's last and biggest independent publisher. The vid is on our website BB

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